Key takeaways about international real estate from the 2014 Leadership Summit

On my return flight home from Ottawa to Switzerland last week following the CREA AGM, I was reflecting on the growing interest in international real estate from Canadian REALTORS®. While CREA was a founding member of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA) in 2001 and has consistently played a leading role, I’ve seen a notable bump in interest and inquiries from individual CREA members. This is good news as Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of the global property market.

During the AGM I had the privilege of being part of a panel on international real estate with three CREA past presidents – Cal Lindberg, Georges Pahud, and Alan Tennant. Another past president, Dale Ripplinger, moderated. The panel focused on sharing CREA’s work in the international arena and looking at new opportunities.

If you couldn’t make it, here are a few takeaways:

  • CREA will soon offer members new opportunities to provide global exposure to local listings through ICREA’s—determined by the listing broker as a destination site of the CREA Data Distribution Facility.
  • We know international referrals can present unique opportunities. And, with growing interest in cross-border referral training through ICREA’s Transnational Referral, Certification (TRC) course, discussions about providing live courses in Canada for CREA members will soon begin. Until then, the course is available online.
  • Once TRC certified, there are lots of opportunities to network with other TRCs worldwide – including through Facebook (if you’re already a TRC…join us!), a B2B portal, and (coming soon!) a website specifically for TRC agents/brokers.

There was also great interest in CREA’s role with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body established to set standards and promote implementation of measures to combat money laundering and terrorist financing through a wide range of industries—including real estate (via transactions). Canada is represented on the FATF by the federal Department of Finance and FINTRAC.

ICREA represents the global real estate industry with the FATF—advocating for the interests of the real estate sector around the world. ICREA focuses on how proposed legislative guidance set by the FATF practically impacts real estate agents – including critical issues like the role  of the real estate agent in conducting due diligence on behalf of the customer.

The good news for CREA members is that one of your own—David Salvatore, CREA’s Director of External Relations—will now work directly as a member of the ICREA delegation to FATF. This means CREA will have first-hand knowledge and immediate opportunity for comment on regulatory anti-money laundering issues of concern in Canada – a real win-win for CREA and ICREA.

I believe 2014 is going to be a good year for international real estate and based on my time in Ottawa—a great year for international business in Canada!

Thijs Stoffer is the Chief Executive Officer and an ex-officio Board member of the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA). Before joining ICREA, he was a managing director and owner of a consultancy firm in Europe. He has worked on international technology, eCommerce, and web-based projects in the real estate industry, telecommunications, and other sectors. For several years, Thijs managed the strategic communications, international business relations, and activities of the NVM, the Dutch professional real estate association.

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